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The National party are in bed with the insurance industry but it’s Christchurch residents that are getting shafted

Written By: - Date published: 1:29 pm, June 12th, 2014 - 117 comments
Categories: capitalism, christchurch earthquake, Gerry Brownlee, national/act government, same old national - Tags:

The Insurance Council and National are desperately trying to pour cold water over Labour’s earthquake court policy, a policy which would speed up the backlog of insurance claims and give people a fair chance against the power of the insurance industry.

The insurance claims have been dragging out for years and the only beneficiaries of that have been the insurance companies.

The insurance council is claiming that Labour’s figure of 10,000 back-logged claims is actually more like 1500.

What they are actually doing is claiming that cases which are pending settlement are settled. They know very few people have access to court action and they’re making offers to people and waiting them out.

And the worst part is that National are strongly backing the Insurance Council, against the interests of Christchurch residents.

Some have said that National might just pick up Labour’s idea and run with it themselves in their usual policy-poaching style. The problem is that National has a long, intimate history with the insurance industry so it’s highly unlikely they would do anything that could diminish insurance profiteering.

It’s worth reminding people how cozy that relationship is.
Back in 2005 the insurers gave the National party a million dollars for its ACC privatisation policy. That was probably the largest political donation in NZ’s history.

As commenter Wayne says, ‘do you really think a political party can be corrupted for $15,000?’

Maybe not $15,000, but what about a million?

117 comments on “The National party are in bed with the insurance industry but it’s Christchurch residents that are getting shafted”

  1. thechangeling 1

    Surprise surprise, more corruption from this abhorrent National Party capitalist crony excuse for a government.

  2. Tracey 2

    We need to start by asking the insurers the right questions.

    What percentage of total claims made have received the total payment claimed? Then work down, received 90%, 80% and so on.

    What is the total amount spent by claimants on lawyers dealing with insurers and negotiated settlementsto get a payout

    From date claimed lodged with insurer, how many months til full payout, negotiated settlement

    • Samson Samasoni 2.1

      The Insurance Council issued a press release on 15 May that answers your questions. In residential Over Cap and Out of Scope claims, 59% are fully settled and completed. That total value of residential claims settled as of April is $4.06 billion (which also includes contents, temporary accommodation etc).

      Unfortunately Geoff doesn’t understand the terminology. Insurers have 22,455 over cap dwelling claims, (claims transferred from EQC that are over the $100,000 plus gst cap), 87% are fully settled or agreed with customers (pending settlement).

      How is this 87% made up? The CERA quarterly survey confirms 9,877 (44%) of those claims are closed and completely settled. A further 9,755 (43%) are ‘pending settlement’, which means the insurance company has reached an agreement with their customer, so there are builders on site building or repairing the house, it’s in pre-construction (design/documentation), it’s scheduled for a rebuild or repair or the customer is waiting to receive their cash settlement.

      Insurers don’t call it ‘completely settled’ until the key to the front door has been handed over or the cheque is banked.

      There are 1,508 over cap where the insurer has made their customer an offer but the insured hasn’t made a decision, many are saying it’s because they’re waiting to know what their land settlement is going to be from EQC before making a decision. EQC expects to settle all land claims by the end of the year.

      Insurers anticipate there will potentially be a small percentage of this 1,508 that will end up in some form of legal dispute. Currently there are 200-odd cases in the High Court, 80% are being brought by one lawyer.

  3. Matthew Hooton 3

    Has National privatised ACC as a result of the $1 million?

    • Enough is Enough 3.1

      They will if re-elected

      • Wayne 3.1.1


        Is there even a hint that the Nats will include such a thing in their manifesto? And if they don’t it wont happen.

        • framu

          do past performance, known factors and ideological predictability count?

          also – charter schools werent publicly part of the nats manifesto – yet they picked that ball up almost as if someone told them where to find it

        • Tracey

          was raising gst in their manifesto Wayne?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          What “manifesto” Dr. Mapp? Link or admit it doesn’t exist.

    • geoff 3.2

      This memo (http://cdn.thestandard.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/ic800.jpg) shows they intended to, so maybe National still owes them something.

      Did you ever do any work for the insurance industry, Matthew?

      You were a close advisor to Don Brash at that time, right?

    • Tracey 3.3

      it was brashs lot being bought, john key paid back following the earthquakes 😉

      John doesnt keep his own promises (ask dunne) let alone someone elses

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.4

      So did National not introduce private ACC type insurance for employers after the donation ?

      Of course they did. This is the only part of ACC they really want, its where the money is.

      Im surprised Hooters has asked a question where the link between money and policy was so blatant

      • john 3.4.1

        ACC is a total rort.

        I pay thousands more than my actual risk so the guy up the road can sit on his arse for over ten years getting paid handsomely, while people far less able than him are out working.

        It’s a mess of s system that encourages bludging and should be shut down.

        • framu

          well a few years back i managed to tear the back of my leg open down to the muscle (you could see the archilies (sp?) tendon moving about!)

          acc covered all my hospital and after care visits (they dont stick you in hospital anymore), and because of this i was able to return to my top tax bracket profession in 2 weeks (though still on crutches) and get back to paying vastly more tax than i consume.

          Do i mind – hell no! Because it would have been more expensive if ACC didnt exist

          Can ACC be improved – hell yes.
          Should people ideologically opposed to ACC be allowed to get their hand son it – hell no

          what system would you prefer john?

        • framu

          “so the guy up the road can sit on his arse for over ten years getting paid handsomely,”

          i dont need details – but are you talking about a beneficiary or some company director?

        • Tracey

          not according to that bastion of communism,


        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I think it would be easier and infinitely more preferable to shut you down.

        • Colonial Viper

          ACC is a total rort.

          John, perhaps you need to look a bit wider a field. This is not about your personal situation.

          ACC is a highly effective system which prevents private lawyers and insurance companies from running the big time rorts, as they do in the USA and to a certain extent, in Australia.

          It is also a crucial part of this nation’s social security net, and ensures that if something unexpected and untoward happens to you, you are covered, all for a low efficient cost and low overheads.

          I pay thousands more than my actual risk so the guy up the road can sit on his arse for over ten years getting paid handsomely, while people far less able than him are out working.

          Can you please explain the hate and venom which fills your words? A lot of people are severely injured in work place accidents. For every forestry worker you hear that has been killed, probably another ten to twenty are seriously injured and have to take significant time off work.

          I’m not so why you are so negative towards your fellow Kiwis, it really is an ugly attitude that you have. If you were seriously injured (God forbid) I’m sure they would not begrudge you your ACC support in the same way.

        • RedBaronCV

          Boss of a forestry company living up the road from you obviously – bludger supremos aren’t they.

      • Matthew Hooton 3.4.2

        No I don’t think they did.
        There was a proposal to, from memory, but it didn’t go ahead – unless you are confusing the late 1990s when they did privatise one of the accounts, but that was before the donation people here seem concerned about.

    • Tom Gould 3.5

      The $1m would have been chewed up by the earthquakes. Just another form of insurance to these guys, I guess, with the premium paid in advance.

    • Molly 3.6

      Has National been transparent about receiving the $1 million in the first place?

      Did it mention this in any of their press releases on changing ACC policy?

    • adam 3.7

      Short answer Hooton buns, effectively, if not a literally. This is not the ACC of the Woodhouse report nor anything close to how it should be funded. Nick Smith and his zombie economic model is quite a sick approach on this visionary approach to managing accidents. So yeah, brought and paid for sun shine – brought and paid for.

    • meconism 3.8

      Of course not, they haven’t been able to get the shit of the walls from the last time they tried it.

  4. greywarbler 4

    Without specially seeking out cases there are some sad stories popping up all the time. And the ones that come to attention often get fixed so hooray for that. Some good publicity. But it seems that they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

    And Brownlee the Czar of Christchurch is reigning with as much popularity as the Czar of Russia. Unfortunately for Russia getting rid of one ruler only brought them another with new ideas and as bad or worse conditions. This Czar is only concerned about his citadel of the CBD. The people are incidental to, not the focus of his concerns. Insure, ensure, assure; these are comforting words found in the dictionary, not founded on actuality in everyday reality.

    The citadel meaning is quite funny in the context, either a fortress on a high point, or a Salvation Army hall. The Czar in one, the citizen supplicants in the other.
    1. a fortress, typically one on high ground above a city.
    “the garrison withdrew into the citadel”synonyms: fortress, fort, stronghold, fortification, castle, burg, keep, tower, donjon, bunker;
    2. a meeting hall of the Salvation Army.
    Actually citadel derives from the Latin root for city, civis, meaning citizen.
    But that was in the old days. Now it means tower – above the citizens.

  5. framu 5

    the insurance council is the same bunch of cowboys who still steadfastly refuse to admit that the force change to sum insured means that homeowners are being forced to assume risk – they still think that 100% of the risk is the insures

    never mind that all the info on sum insured states that the homeowners is responsible for getting the insurance amount right and its not the insurers problem if its under insured

    and they wonder why most people despise them

  6. john 6

    Getting the insurance companies to pay people to sue them, will result in
    – more litigation,
    – more insurance money shifted away from claims and into lawyers pockets,
    – more court cases
    – even more clogged up courts.
    – staff and judges taken from already clogged criminal courts
    – even more delayed justice in criminal courts.
    – more expensive insurance premiums for everyone
    – use of judges used to criminal cases – not commercial cases
    – use of lawyers as judges
    – an increase in the already high number of fraudulent claims, which means the whole system has to be even more slow and methodical.

    • geoff 6.1

      What a load of horseshit.

      Labour promises to increase resource to solve a problem that isn’t going away and in your inverted reality that means the problem will get worse.

      I’m sure you’d be happiest if Christchurch people just quietened down and let the insurance companies get on with the business of screwing them.

      • john 6.1.1

        When even the Christchurch Press is highly skeptical that it won’t create more problems than it solves, you KNOW you’ve got a dodgy policy.

        • Tracey

          Is that your source? You are regurgitating someone elses opinion as your own?

        • geoff

          More horseshit. You should bag it and sell it at your gate.

          Funnily enough the policy is quite popular among the actual people of Christchurch who are having to deal with the insurance companies.


          Brent Cairns, spokesperson for Wecan, an advocacy group for people with quake-damaged homes, said residents were on the back foot when it came to taking on insurance companies, and an earthquake court would even things out.
          Mr Cairns said it was an indictment of the insurance industry that people have had to wait so long for the claims to be fixed in Canterbury.

        • Puddleglum

          even the Christchurch Press

          You’re not a regular reader of The Press are you?

          In editorials The Press is right wing when it comes to party politics or economic policy. (It’s ‘liberal’ on issues like Civil Unions and gay marriage.)

          It has been this way for a long time and certainly with the last three editors (including the current one). An analysis of the discursive techniques used in such editorials would show that quite clearly – if it wasn’t instantly apparent from a quick read (which it is).

        • vto

          The Christchurch Press editorials? Don’t waste your time reading or believing that anonymous claptrap. Complete and utter waste of space those editorials. Completely one-eyed and valueless.

    • Tracey 6.2

      can you post links to your sources. Also can you link to your source for how much claimants have spent on lawyers to date.


    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3

      First he says we should can ACC and go back to suing people, then he says suing people causes problems. Is he confused, or just an angry asshole? I’m picking asshole.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      That just shows how few cases are even getting to court. After 4 years almost half of house damage cases havent been settled.

      The court has settled about one per month. !! Thats 0.5% of the current backlog of around 9500 ( likely to be the most difficult).

      Im sure that if the householders could say to the insurance company, see you in court in 6 weeks we would have have 80-90% settled by now.

      • BM 7.1.1

        I read it to mean.
        Labour is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

        From the letter:

        Earthquake cases are given priority over other civil cases in the Christchurch district court and to have the parties before a judge within 55 working days.

        • Tracey

          so, you think because people cant afford to sue their insurance company, resulting in them not showing in court stats, that everything is fine?

          Do you understand what having the parties before a judge within 55 days means?.

          ” Brent Cairns, spokesperson for Wecan, an advocacy group for people with quake-damaged homes, said residents were on the back foot when it came to taking on insurance companies, and an earthquake court would even things out. Mr Cairns said it was an indictment of the insurance industry that people have had to wait so long for the claims to be fixed in Canterbury. “

        • Tracey

          now that you have decided to take an interest in christchurch you could look here


        • geoff

          The insurance companies are offering turds on a plate which claimants are rightly refusing and so the resolution rate is very low.

          There is a problem.

          • BM

            10000 vs 1500 it’s a really big difference.

            Can Labour back up those numbers with solid facts because either labour is bull shitting or the insurance council is bullshitting.

            • geoff

              Read the links, BM

              As Cosgrove says,

              “There are more than 10,000 claims yet to be settled. The insurance council says exactly that on its website: ‘Of the 22,455 over cap dwellings, 9,875 (44%) had been settled, 9,755 (43%) were pending settlement and 2,876 (13%) were still to be made an offer or the insured had not made a decision on their offer’.

              • BM

                From tthe insurance council website

                Residential Claims
                October 2013

                Insurers involved in the Canterbury recovery have completed or agreed resolution for 87% of their residential property claims. Data collected by CERA to 1 October 2013 confirms that of the 24,660 over cap dwellings with insurers, 21,250 are fully completed or resolution is in progress.

                The data shows that 10,000 (41%) over cap dwelling claims are fully completed and agreed resolution for a further 11,250 (46%) properties is in progress, which means they are scheduled for insurer-managed repairs and rebuilds or external resolution. CERA defines external resolution as resolved outside the insurer’s project management office including cash settlement or house reinstatement. Insurer projections confirm that the insurance residential programme is on track to be completed by the end of 2016.


                • geoff

                  Yeah I’m not sure what your point is BM, what you’ve pasted there backs up my point.
                  Is this your way of saying ‘ok I agree with you’?

                  • BM

                    I read that as meaning

                    A claim being fully completed as not meaning just the insurance money has been paid out but all the required works are done as well.

                    And the claims pending are ones that the payout has been agreed upon and are just waiting to get the work done.

                • The data shows that 10,000 (41%) over cap dwelling claims are fully completed and agreed resolution for a further 11,250 (46%) properties is in progress, which means they are scheduled for insurer-managed repairs and rebuilds or external resolution. CERA defines external resolution as resolved outside the insurer’s project management office including cash settlement or house reinstatement.

                  BM, what that means is that properties – or their owners – in the process of trying to come to some “agreed resolution” number 11,250 (46% of properties). The point is that that process takes forever.

                  To be “scheduled for insurer-managed repairs and rebuilds or external resolutions” means that it should be the insurer’s to project manage from their payout but that unhappy insurees will often take the money and find someone else to do the job more cheaply or simply vacate, sell a damaged house and buy another house to try to make as practicable a use of the inadequate insurance payout as possible.

                  • Tracey

                    Reading is a skill.

                    BM dipped his toe in the pond of literacy and was drowning. Thank you for saving him.

                  • Samson Samasoni

                    That’s not correct. CERA’s definition of resolution or settlement, is that its completely settled, so ‘in progress’ means it’s been agreed with the customer but the house is being built etc.

                    The process of building 10,500 new homes or major repairs does take time, no way around it.

                    • Maybe my comment was ambiguous.

                      When I said people are “in the process of trying to come to some ‘agreed resolution'” I was referring to the constant delays between ‘agreement’ and ‘resolution’.

                      I know personally of seven cases where there has been delay after delay after delay over supposedly ‘agreed’ dates when work would start or over just what method of repair would be used (jacking houses up several metres, contemplating trying novel ‘packing’ methods on foundations and the like).

                      In one case ‘agreement’ was reached in July last year and they are still waiting for the start of the work despite being promised three different start dates.

                      On top of the interminable waits and frustrations of dealing with insurance companies to get to the point of where the ‘customers’ thought an agreement had been reached the constant pushing out of timelines is absolutely grinding people into the ground.

                      All of this delaying feeds the distinct impression that insurance companies have been trying to spread out their liability into the future (i.e., the point when they have finally handed over all the cash). Cash settlements are often taken (knowing that they are below replacement value even after several months even years of haggling) just to end the process.

                      And ‘waiting for EQC’ to decide actually has often meant waiting for EQC to ‘negotiate’ over cap-under cap with the insurers – each making very slow but strategic claims about the level of repair needed all of which, once again, slowed everything down.

                      Is my meaning clearer now?

                  • Samson Samasoni

                    That is very clear now Puddleglum. Insurers would not claim cases, such as the seven you cite, as fully settled. It’s unlikely then that a legal determination would assist customers with the ‘frustrations’ you outline.

                    Contractors and PMOs of course only propose building and repair solutions that meet building guidelines and are consentable.

                    The Residential Advisory Service has been successful at assisting customers with the sort of frustrations you describe.

                    • Thanks for the response.

                      I’m less concerned about the pros and cons of recourse to an Earthquake Court than I am about what I would see as a realistic characterisation of the actual process people in Christchurch have been living through.

                  • Samson Samasoni

                    Thanks. I’m responding to the blog’s characterisation that there are potentially 10,000 that could be in dispute.

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              what part of 44% only that have been settled dont you understand.

              That leaves 12500 outstanding.

              And this is only for overcap claims ( exceed the EQC limit, they arent exactly hare like either)

      • Samson Samasoni 7.1.2

        There is no backlog of 9500.

        87% of the 22,455 over cap dwelling claims with insurers are fully settled or agreement reached with customers (pending settlement). Pending settlement means the customer has accepted the offer and the house is being repaired or built, they’re awaiting the cheque or they’re in the rebuild queue.

        There are only 1,508 over cap claims where the insurer has made their customer an offer but the insured hasn’t yet made a decision, many citing they’re waiting to know what their land settlement is going to be from EQC before making a decision about the offer. Some of these may still end up in a legal dispute.

        • lprent

          There are only 1,508 over cap claims where the insurer has made their customer an offer…

          If that is the case then there is no particular reason to oppose Labour’s policy, is there? And yet the insurance industry is.

          Why are they doing that? Perhaps it is like the leaky building setup. A lot of hidden issues that haven’t been addressed?

          Don’t be a jerk and try not to think that bullshitting bloggers is quite as easy as explaining to journalists. At least try to give a credible explanation for the insurance companies panic.

          • Samson Samasoni

            The rebuild progress numbers are collected independently by a third party, CERA. There’s no bovine manure involved. And there is certainly no panic.

            1. The supposed justification for the Earthquake Court, 10,000 claims, is a misstatement.
            2. The idea of creating a situation where effectively you are forced by the State to pay people to sue you would set a very bad precedent.
            3. There are free services already available to people to resolve maters without having to go to Court, including the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman.
            4. Free advisory services such as the Residential Advisory Service are having great success at helping customers work through their concerns or disputes by providing independent advice and facilitating discussions with insurers.
            5. Most of the remaining issues customers require support with (outside their land claim) are of a technical nature, i.e. engineering assessments, scope of works etc. They are not issues that necessarily require a legal determination.
            6. In fact, the number of “Undecideds” (customers who had not made a decision about the offer from insurers) dropped significantly in 3 months from 2,600 in Q4 2013 to 1,508 in Q1 2014. Clearly, the current processes and available services are helping customers address their concerns. Admittedly some may still end up in court, but nowhere near the numbers being touted.
            7. It may create more confusion and further delay resolution as some may think they’ll await the outcome of the election to see whether some State-sanctioned court action may result in a future windfall.
            • Puddleglum

              In fact, the number of “Undecideds” (customers who had not made a decision about the offer from insurers) dropped significantly in 3 months from 2,600 in Q4 2013 to 1,508 in Q1 2014. Clearly, the current processes and available services are helping customers address their concerns.

              Sorry, but that conclusion is not at all ‘clear’ and does not logically follow. What you have is people some three years after the February 2011 earthquake ‘deciding’ to accept settlement offers or risk waiting God knows how long to finally get on with their lives.

              Have you never spoken to anyone who has experienced this process (outside formal meetings with the ‘insureds’)? If you had I’d wager that you wouldn’t have the gall to draw that conclusion.

            • lprent

              There are free services already available to people to resolve maters without having to go to Court, including the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman.
              Free advisory services such as the Residential Advisory Service are having great success at helping customers work through their concerns or disputes by providing independent advice and facilitating discussions with insurers.

              I’m fortunately not in ChCh, but I hadn’t noticed any of those services being of use in the leaky buildings saga. The people who took those paths wound up getting essentially nothing.

              After nearly being bankrupted myself repairing a leaky apartment building, we had this curious settlement from the insurers of the defendants, after years of discussion, in a few weeks before the court was to hear the claim for the full value of the claim. It was only their imminent embroilment in the court date that appeared to change their minds about the value of our case. We got the distinct impression that the insurers were trying to run us out of money before we got to court.

              As you can imagine, this didn’t leave a particularly good impression of the insurance industry who appeared to prefer pushing the risk on to the victims of misadventure rather than carrying it as they were paid to do.

              From the sound of what has been happening in ChCh to people I know down there, then same laggard ways of insurers on actually receiving repairs or money are common. The insurance industry appears to be more concerned about minimising and shifting the timing of their liability than helping those that they took money to take the risk for.

              I think that smoothing the way to a court date will be an appropriate way to speed up the settlement process. If it isn’t needed, as you claim, then it won’t be used much. If it is (as I suspect) then it pulls people out of their horrid circumstances earlier. Paying for legal fees in my experience is more likely to mean that the cases get heard earlier without bankrupting people – something that the insurance industry really shouldn’t be doing to their customers.

              And from my and others experience with free mediation style services. They are a crock of bullshit. The courts are by far the most effective means to get insurers to accept their liabilities.

        • Puddleglum

          Pending settlement means the customer has accepted the offer and the house is being repaired or built, they’re awaiting the cheque or they’re in the rebuild queue.”

          Samson Samasoni, could you please tell us what proportion of the 9,500 are “in the rebuild queue“?

          You seem to be responding systematically to all claims on this thread that there is a backlog and you obviously have some stake or expert knowledge in this process. That should put you in a good position to provide more details.

          • Samson Samasoni

            That exact data across the industry of the “rebuild queue or pipeline” should be available from the CERA survey being conducted on 1 July.

            But you can get an indicative view of it by reviewing the Southern Response progress stats published publicly monthly:

            They report 3,012 rebuilds/repairs they’re managing: 14% completed, 17% under construction, 43% in design/documentation, which leaves 26% in the queue.

            • geoff

              Why has there only been a 3% change in the number of settled cases in the last 5 months?

              In October 2013, 41% had been resolved, now that number has only shifted to 44%.

              Why is that?

              See here (page 6):

              Click to access greater-christchurch-recovery-update-issue-28-december-2013.pdf

              • Samson Samasoni

                Two main reasons:

                1. The total number of over cap claims gets larger each quarter, with hundreds still being transferred from EQC as over cap. For example, in the first quarter of this year another 493 became over cap (skewing the percentages).
                2. Very few cash settlements still to be finalised now, majority are rebuilds/major repairs which can take up to 12 months from pre-construction phase to handing the front door key back to the customer.
                • geoff

                  So why do the insurers claim that the process will be complete by 2016?

                  CERA defines external resolution as resolved outside the insurer’s project management office including cash settlement or house reinstatement. Insurer projections confirm that the insurance residential programme is on track to be completed by the end of 2016.

                  By my calculation, 3% every 5 months, the process will take at least another 5.7 years.

                  • Samson Samasoni

                    I can’t comment on your calculation but if you again look at the Southern Response progress stats as an indicative example: http://www.southernresponse.co.nz/rebuild/our-progress/progress-to-the-end-of-may-2014/

                    Southern Response has completed 14% of their rebuilds/repairs. There is a further 60% in design/documentation (e.g. consenting) or under construction, so it would not be unreasonable to suggest that they will have those completed by the end of 2015 (for argument’s sake).

                    That would leave 26% (788) to complete in 2016, which is roughly 197 per quarter. That again doesn’t seem an unreasonable target.

                    Of course, it doesn’t account for over cap claims not yet transferred by EQC or cases in dispute.

                    • geoff

                      But if the vast majority of the cases are cash settlements… (Insurers and the claims management companies had completed 1,681 major repairs and rebuilds and cash settled 8,194 claims by the end of March.

                      …then why is it taking so long?

                      Essentially your information is saying it is taking a very long time to make mostly cash settlements. Why is that?

                  • Samson Samasoni

                    That’s a good question Geoff. But firstly, no that’s not what I’m saying about cash settlements. Of the 9,775 agreed with the customer but still to be fully settled, roughly 10% are cash settlements still to be settled (which could include, for example, the customer waiting for the right house to buy, or signing a contract with their builder etc).

                    Again it may useful for you to review the Southern Response data as an example for context: http://www.southernresponse.co.nz/media/350031/graph.png In July 2011 they had just over 5000 over cap claims, by May 2014 it was 7000.

                    Why is it taking so long? Many issues outside the insurance company’s control impact on speed of the recovery, as the Insurance Council outlined in this piece published by The Press on 17 March: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/9834970/Recovery-not-just-an-insurance-issue

                    Remember that there were substantial zoning issues Government had to address, there was the EQC declaratory judgment in September 2011 which then required EQC to go through their apportionment process, foundation building guidelines were issued in 2012, the City Council’s flood data was released late 2012, the very public delays with consenting processes in Christchurch, land repair and settlement issues, multi-units or complex shared property issues still being worked through (note guidelines for multis were recently issued), mass land movement issues came into play late last year, retaining walls are still a hurdle, just to name a few of the complexities.

                    • geoff

                      Perhaps I am missing something.

                      Presumably the 9,775 has a similar proportion of cash settlements as the 9,877 cases that are now closed? (~83% cash settlement)

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      As I mention above, 10% of 9,775 are cash settlements, the balance being repairs/rebuilds. As you correctly say the 9,877 fully settled is 83% cash settlements. Remember that many were Red Zoned, so had little option.

                      Another way of looking at your question about why is it taking so long, is to ask why commercial claims are 75% fully settled but over cap residential claims 44% settled (not including Out of Scope)?

                      At the risk of oversimplifying it, commercial claims are of course sum insured and don’t have the two-step over cap process to determine whether it’s a private insurer claim.

                    • geoff

                      On the southern response graph it shows a dramatic jump in the number of cash settled occuring between March and April 2014. What caused that jump?

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      Sorry Geoff can’t help you with that one about the jump in Southern Response cash settlements.

                    • geoff

                      What would cause the ‘customers elected to buy another house, self-manage build or cash settle’ category to be so high for so long prior to the dramatic drop in April 2014?

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      Ahh, ok, I’ve just had a look.

                      I don’t know specifically, but it looks to me like all they’ve done from April is split off that category and are now reporting:
                      1. those who have elected cash settlement etc
                      2. the total number of cash settlements completed.

                      Combining those two numbers in April comes to 3,116, which is an increase of 110 on the previous month.

                    • geoff

                      Ah ok so cash settlement is a new category since April 2014.

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      In terms of this chart, yes they’ve now split off ‘completely settled’ and ‘pending settlement’. But they’ve always reported cash settlements in detail in their monthly progress reports http://www.southernresponse.co.nz/media/350028/detail.pdf

                    • geoff

                      Well it looks like you’ve shown that Labour’s figures are wrong. I’ll be interested to see if they respond to this.

                      So when Clayton Cosgrove said:

                      “To argue that cases which are pending settlement are settled is ludicrous. Sending an offer to a claimant is not settlement. The reason there is conflict and non-settlement is because of disagreement between the insurers offer and the claimant’s view of damage.”

                      You’d argue that statement is simply not true?

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      Geoff, I agree with Clayton’s statement that ‘sending an offer to a claimant is not settlement’. Insurers don’t call that a settlement either.

                      But I disagree that there are 10,000 in that category. It’s 1,508 that have not made a decision on their offer yet and yes it is expected that some of them will end up in a legal dispute. There are 200-odd cases before the courts right now, 80% brought by one lawyer.

                      The issue seems to be their understanding of ‘pending settlement’ from the CERA survey. Pending settlement is: agreement reached with customer, builders on site, in pre-construction stage, in rebuild queue or awaiting their cheque.

                      Thanks for the opportunity to provide the clarification.

                    • geoff

                      So the definition of ‘agreement reached with customer” doesn’t just mean the insurance company has made an offer to them?

                    • BM

                      I thought I was right.

                      Is Labour being less than honest about their earthquake court or did they just honestly misinterpret the meaning of claims pending, it would be disappointing if one of our major political parties was trying to purposely mislead the public in their pursuit of power.

                      Would be good if someone in the media followed up on it.

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      That’s right. “Pending settlement” is the full spectrum from, offer agreed by the customer to rebuild/repair being completed (9775). Once the rebuild/repair is done or cheque banked, that’s when it’s “settled” (9875).

                    • geoff

                      So just to double check, ‘agreement reached with customer’ means the customer has signed off on an agreement either for rebuild, repair or cash settlement?

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      That’s spot on Geoff. And its then reported in the CERA survey as “pending settlement”.

                    • geoff

                      Thanks for the info, Samson I appreciate your answers.
                      It appears that Labour has got their 10,000 figure wrong, as had I.
                      I’ll be very curious to see if there is any response from Labour regarding this.

                    • Samson Samasoni

                      I’m glad it’s helped clarify things Geoff. Happy to try and answer any insurance issues to do with the Canterbury recovery effort.

  7. aerobubble 8

    Hooton was very aggrieved at Labour’s plan for an Earthquake court. Because it would mean in any future Earthquakes speedy justice. So its a surprise Labour isn’t stroking the fear that other regions Earthquake potential could leave any homeowner in the same ChCh strife.

    Just saying.

  8. redfred 9

    How much have the insurance companies spent at Cabinet Club events over the last 3 years?

    I bet every insurance company CEO and CFO have been to a Cabinet Club event or two.

    • framu 9.1

      and if theyve been multiple times arent they breaching anon donation rules?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 9.2

      Cabinet Club is for peasants , who can only afford peanuts.

      The really big boys in the 7 figure club get the cabinet to come to them. Or there is Nationals new HQ at 41 Pipitea St just around the corner from the Beehive where they can wine and dine.

      A lot of spending isnt covered by the so called ‘election spending’, as the $2.2 million for the HQ showed.

      Then there is all that polling, no need to be declared as election spending. That must be another $1 mill or so.

      Nowdays you need a website. The cost of hardware and software isnt counted. There are expensive software suites from overseas you can buy to run campaigns. Not included

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Infrastructure in other words. The National Party, as all Tory institutions do, values the building up of institutional assets, capabilities, networks and infrastructure. This prepares the ground for and greatly magnifies the effect of every dollar that they do choose to spend in an election campaign.

        IMO this alone explains 5% to 10% of the polling that the National Party gets, bearing in mind that their true support base amongst NZ voters rests between just 20% and 25%.

  9. ianmac 10

    Of course once the Court was established the Insurance companies would be much quicker to settle. Dodge the bullet. After all which Insurance Company wants their number of Court Claims to be published. “Ripper Insurance Company loose the 4526th case today. That is 98% of cases brought against it. Not fair says Brownlie and Ripper CEO!”

    • Tracey 10.1

      The reason they will settle sooner, cos they will still try the bully, is that they wont be able to draw it out for years, a hearing date would be set sooner and with that date in mind they are more likely to settle imo. They will try bully first, tgats the nature of this financial cannibal, but right now people dont have the will to fight for years. Have seen grown men crying over the behaviour of insurance companies in chchch/kaiapoi

  10. blue leopard 11

    I noted with rather high levels of astonishment the manner in which TV One news presented this policy of Labour’s, which could only be described as ‘shooting it down in flames’ ; TV3 was milder but not much better. I was hoping someone would provide some explanation on this phenomena.

    I believe you have gone a long way in doing that.


    p.s. Mathew Hooton and Wayne showing up only serves to confirm that you are onto something here.

    • geoff 11.1

      cheers, bl! i haven’t watched tv 1 coverage, sounds like I shouldn’t bother.

  11. Macro 12

    “As commenter Wayne says, ‘do you really think a political party can be corrupted for $15,000?’”

    Well I thought that was obvious! Certainly $22,000 does it.

    How low can we go?

  12. Wreckingball 13

    And where do you expect all of these new J=judges and lawyers to come from? There are only so many judges in the country. Are we going to bring some retired (72+ year old judges) back to the bar? Please explain. Also, by paying for people’s litigation, you are going to end up with many vexatious claims, which will further clog to courts.

    Also, BM is completely right. Can you not understand? 87% of claims have been settled. As BM said “claims pending are ones that the payout has been agreed upon and are just waiting to get the work done” – it is not hard to understand guys.

    • Tracey 13.1

      it will require maybe two judges. Judges come from lawyers. We have an abundance of lawyers.

      In order to abuse this court you will need an existing insurance policy, so your squeal of vexatious has little foundation.

      Could you tell me the percentage of payout on the claims so far? How many people have settled for less than 100%, 90%, 50%??

      20m to non covered scf investors
      30m to rio tinto
      Rebates to warner bros

      Could have funded this scheme two years ago.

      • Wreckingball 13.1.1

        1) Yea so we are going to promote some under qualified lawyers and then get them to make decisions on $1m matters. Great plan. What do you think it does to investor confidence when a country mismanages its court system like this??

        2) 87% of claims have been settled. Not all of them have been paid yet as the work has no actually been done.

        3) I don’t know what percentage (of what they claimed) they got. That is not the point. People probably claimed for too much, and then settled for less.

        4) National was supporting the 1400 people employed by the plant and the Southland economy in general. It is almost a labour policy. What would you rather have? No jobs???

        • Tracey


          ” People probably claimed for too much, and then settled for less. ” is that what you do on your insurance claims?

          you sir are speaking from your puckered rear orifice reserved for defecation.

        • framu

          1) – who said anything about unqualified? – oh, only you
          2) umm – its the amount settled for, and how that compares to what the policy holder has been paying for brainiac – not whether the work is started or not
          3) if your policy states your paying for x insurance – how much you gonna claim? – more?
          4) there was no requirement for job retention in that deal – your talking horseshit

          what would i rather have? – people with a better grasp of basic cognitive skills

          investor confidence – holy shit! – you dont care that an entire industry is trying to screw people out of what they have been paying for via their premiums?

          how about customer confidence? – no customers? – no fucking business to invest in

      • Samson Samasoni 13.1.2

        Here’s the link to the Insurance Council media statement about the total value of residential (and commercial) claims paid so far. By the way, it’s $11.5 billion.


        • Puddleglum

          From your link:

          Of the 22,455 over cap dwellings, 9,875 (44%) had been settled, 9,755 (43%) were pending settlement and 2,876 (13%) were still to be made an offer or the insured had not made a decision on their offer.

          Insurers and the claims management companies had completed 1,681 major repairs and rebuilds and cash settled 8,194 claims by the end of March.

          Note that of the 9,785 claims settled a full 8,194 had gone for a cash settlement. Here’s two questions you won’t be able to answer but each ‘insured’ will have their own answer: ‘How many of those cash settlements were adequate for the work to be done?’; ‘How many of those cash settlements occurred because the ‘insured’ just couldn’t face fighting the process any more or continuing to deal with the insurer through the repair/rebuild project?’

          • Samson Samasoni

            I haven’t seen any data on that, just as I haven’t seen data on how many of those cash settlements were “adequate for the work to be done” or how many were completely satisfied with the cash settlement they received.

  13. fisiani 14

    The headline mentions Labour’s POPULAR plan. Any evidence of popularity or just more made up shit.

  14. RedBaronCV 15

    The insurance companies should think themselves lucky that they are getting a Court. After paying to run their offices, pay out fire and other non-earthquake damage they are trousering about $1billion a year from NZ home owner policies.

    WTF are they doing with the money -using it to prop up the payout on the commercial vanity buildings of multi story properties owned by overseas companys?

    A set of stocks and a large bucket of tomatoes, CEO’s only to attend might be a much better idea.

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